Assisting Students in Distress

Due to your role at the University, students in distress may sometimes turn to you for support, advice, and connection to other sources of help. You might also observe students who appear to be having difficulties and wonder how you might be able to reach out to them. Or others might come to you expressing concerns about a student who is disturbing to others.

To learn more about Crisis Resources, click here

Here are some tips that will help you to be a good listener and to increase a student's willingness to accept a referral to the Counseling Center or other resources:

  • Talk with the student in private
  • Listen carefully
  • Show interest and concern
  • Limit constructive criticism
  • Respect the student's values and beliefs

What to look for that might suggest that a student is experiencing more stress than they can handle:

  • Serious grade problems or a decline in quality of work
  • Difficulty making decisions (classes to take, work hours, leisure time)
  • Depression suggested by a sad expression, low motivation, change in eating and sleeping patterns, tearfulness, hopelessness
  • Excessive worry, agitation, irritability, aggressiveness
  • Strange behavior or speech (usually soft, loud, fast, slow)
  • Excessive contact with advisor or supervisor
  • Change in appearance or poor hygiene

Emergency situations which require an immediate referral:

  • Expressions of suicidal thoughts and intent
  • Expressions of violence towards others
  • Severe loss of emotional control, bizarre behavior, or gross impairment in thinking ability

Updated: 06/09/2023 09:03AM